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ONEOK reports earnings increase for fourth quarter

BY ROD WALTON rod.walton@tulsaworld.com Published: February 21, 2012
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Higher natural gas liquid margins sparked ONEOK Inc. and ONEOK Partners LP to leaps in fourth-quarter and annual earnings increases for 2011.

The parent ONEOK's net income totaled $115 million for the three months ending Dec. 31, or $1.09 per share, compared with $83.1 million in 2010s fourth quarter, the Tulsa-based company reported Monday.

Full-year profits topped $360.6 million, or $3.36 per diluted share, 8 percent higher than the $334.6 million earned in the previous year.

ONEOK Partners, a natural gas and NGL storage and transport firm, earned $298.6 million, or $1.26 per unit, in net income for the fourth quarter, more than doubling the 2010 period.

Full-year net income jumped to $830.3 million, or $3.35 per unit, compared with $472.7 million a year ago. Operating income in the natural gas liquids segment alone also doubled to $628.6 million, offsetting a drop in the natural gas pipelines area.

ONEOK Partners' distributable cash flow, which is marked for payout to unit holders, hit $946 million in 2011, a 61-percent increase over the previous year. Capital expenditures almost tripled to $401 million due to growth projects with various pipeline and processing facilities.

Parent ONEOK Inc.'s natural gas distribution and energy service segments fell due to higher operating costs and lower transportation margins, respectively. The NGL side, however, leapt significantly on higher marketing margins and price differentials.

ONEOK Inc. will split its stock two for one if approved by shareholders in May. ONEOK Partners undertook a two-for-one split last year.